I cannot be the bigger man. I just can't do it. For years I have played nice with Danielle, cheering on her beloved Packers, even rooting for them from deep down in my heart, truly caring about the outcomes of their games. I was there for the two years they won 12 games total (and even almost walked into the playoffs at 8-8 in the Junior Varsity Conference). I was there for Favre's first finale, when played like the Last Real American Hero that he is (by the way why exactly is he not playing quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts?). I have been there through "it all", where "it all" means since about September 2005. "What harm could I cause" was my logical assumption. Even though our teams were both strong and storied franchises, the odds of them meeting in the Superbowl anytime soon were simply too long to worry about. So I sometimes pulled double duty at bars, watching the 10am Steeler's game followed by Packers v Panthers or some other such abomination, supporting Danielle's team (which, for the record, she became a fan of in 1996).
Then it happened; our teams waltzed into the Super Bowl last season and one of us had to lose and to be honest it is still better as a whole for our relationship that it was the Steelers going home empty handed (I had this talk with Danielle last night, and she admits that she sometimes hasn't really been rooting for the Steelers and that if they had won the Super Bowl it's likely she could never forgive them), but there you have it. The Steelers were stuck 21-3 at one point in that game and when they had the ball and had clawed back to 21-17 I could just taste the victory. There was simply no way they were losing the game at that point until...well, I don't need to relive it. They should have been a dynasty, they should have won 3 in 6 years and it should have been all manner of awesome. Instead I have Danielle strutting around for 7 months, people in my fantasy league (which, by the way, thanks to my Dad, I am going to simply dominate...and no Dave not yours, in that one I'm pretty worried about having, you know, no wide receivers....the other league that I play with kids from the short bus) sending emails like "Greg Jennings, Wide Receiver, World Champion Green Bay Packers) and I just can't take it.
I thought I could let it go. I convinced myself I could go on this year like nothing happened, that I could just forget about the whole thing. I'm not sure what I was smoking, but I need to get some more of it because I simply can do no such thing. There are only two NFL teams that I truly despise (the Raiders and the Patriots), and until this season just two more than I truly disliked (the Ravens and the Cowboys), and the only decision left for me to make now is which of these lists to put the Packers on. For now I'll reserve judgement and put them in the latter, but should they do something silly like rattle off 6 in a row to start the season I'm going to be hard pressed not to elevate them to New England Patriots, Def Con 1, fuck 'em all, status.
I'm not happy about any of this, for the record. In fact I'm quite saddened by the entire turn of events, as the NFL is something that Danielle and I have shared for years and counts as one of the only things on Earth that we are both truly passionate about. But I can't change the way I feel, and the more I think about it I probably shouldn't try. So tonight I'll be rooting for the New Orleans Saints to go off like a bottle rocket, hoping that the Super Bowl hangover is real. Danielle can't believe any of it, and to be honest, I can't blame her. She has no real way of understanding; in fact, I'm not even sure I do. But there it is....